Tag Archive | signs of abuse

Reasons For No Contact With Abusers

There are several reasons why you should consider going No Contact with Abusers, Narcissists, and Emotional Manipulators. There may be reasons why you cannot block the person, but you can take steps to ensure you are not surprised by their emails.

Emotional Health

You deserve to protect your emotional health from abuser, narcissist, and/or emotional manipulator. If they send emails that are not constructive and do not offer any value you may want to consider blocking them completely. If this person cannot behave properly and uses emails for personal attacks, threaten or bully, emotionally blackmail, or send blatant lies; you may want to keep these messages out of your life for good.

Lets face it, this person has learned enough about you to know exactly what to say to hurt you, push your buttons, or make you feel bad. A person who is constantly using email to lash out to hurt you is not emotionally well or healthy and has not earned the right to continue contacting you. This is a perfect time to create some boundaries to protect your emotional wellbeing.

Boundaries – a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line. This is like setting up a wall to protect yourself from people who are not trustworthy or are unhealthy. This wall can serve to allow healthy inside this wall and keeping unhealthy people out.

Another reason, lets say you receive an hateful email, and you choose not to respond. You may find yourself playing those hateful messages inside your head all day long. There is no reason for that and it is healthier for you to go No Contact instead.

Do This

Block Them

If you do not have any good reasons to receive their communications, it may make sense to block them in your phone. There is no reason to allow them to call or send you text messages. Phone calls are harder to control with an abusive person. Even if you have mentally prepared yourself for this phone call keeping the call under control can be a challenge. Text message are similar to email, but it is harder to save these message unless you screenshot all your messages. You may be resistant to blocking them off completely, but this will help you move on and become stronger.

Email Hacks

If blocking them is not possible, here are some email hacks to help control the situation better. You may want to consider creating a special folder and create a rule when those email(s) show up it automatically moves it into that folder or smart mailbox. By keeping these emails out of your Inbox, it will give you time to mentally prepare yourself before reading those messages. This will prevent the email from popping in the middle of the day when you are unprepared. If you are unprepared, you may find yourself reacting in you response instead of responding.

Reacting vs Responding

Reacting means than you are not in control of you response. For example, if you received a hateful email and sent an immediate reply, you response may be full of anger, frustration, and may provoke back and forth. For example, if you were having a bad day and this email showed up unexpected, you might be more apt to react to the situation.

Responding means you are in control of you response and tone. You may have received a hateful email, but you take time, pause, take deep breaths, or maybe even respond at another time or day. When you take time to think about how you would like to respond helps you reply with controlled responses. Taking time will help you avoid responding when you are emotionally charged with fear, hurt, or anger.

Maybe, Don’t Do This

Yesterday, I received an email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife. Whenever she sends me emails they are condescending, rude, an full of personal attacks. Although I have received less emails than I used to from my ex-husband, it hadn’t occurred to me to create a special folder for her emails into. There is no reason for her to talk to me. She is extremely abusive and unhealthy and I really do not need that in my life.

I didn’t exactly react, but I didn’t exactly respond either. So you can see why putting this in a special folder to avoid random emails. As, I mentioned in one of my previous posts, it seems like his wife is doing my ex-husband’s dirty work. I consider her like his personal minion and doing his bidding.

[To Me]

It has been over 30 days since a payment has been received for [daughter’s name] medical/dental expenses. Please advise when a payment will be rendered.

[From Minion]

My response:

[To Minion]

Check your mail.

Ask your husband, maybe he is hiding money in another account like he did with me. (include a screenshot of this payment sent out by the bank 7 days ago on Oct 13th) This message was truthful, but I really didn’t need to say it, but my frustrations were high after receiving another email from her and this is how I responded. So of course she is going to strike back. 

[From Me]

Her response:

[To Me]

My husband is an amazing man. He would give his right arm for me. He showers me with gifts all the time just Bc he loves me.  No deception in our marriage. The man I know would push someone in front of a bullet and save himself. We have never talked about these things, maybe deep down she knows there is a problem.

We have only receive a payment of $100.00 from you. Should I make a google spreadsheet for you to keep a running outstanding balance for you?  I don’t think I need to. Stop playing games and step-up to your mothers responsiblilites.

[From Minion]

My response, I have really grown tired of her bullying:

[To Minion]

My motherly duties exist since I gave birth to her and raised her for over 17 years with just a smidgen of your involvement. I will always be a REAL mother and have the responsibility as a REAL mother.

Oh my! Someone went on a tangent. Insecurities much?? How did you go from payments to “he showers me with gifts.” Weird. I did voice these thoughts with the help of a dear friend. There are so many things I would love to say, but I continue to hold back. 

[From Me]

Her response, really hateful and full of lies:

[To Me]

You make me laugh. [Daughter’s name] is healthy and thriving living with us. Everyday we peel back the layers of damage you have done to her.  No one falls for your victim act anymore.  Take a look in the mirror.  I’m sure you don’t like what’s looking back.  

I know you will respond to this bc you have a “last worder” personality & that makes me laugh, too. This was a low blow and my good friend even said, watch out when she replies, they will hit below the belt… and she did. 

[From Minion]

Get Healthy Support

After sending this message to one of my trusted friends who has known me for more than ten years she sent a text back saying:

Oh, she is lying!!!!

She is using a strategy of the narcissist (and some addicts): they don’t accept any responsibility for what they did (THEY damaged [daughter’s name]), but they are quick to say “It’s all your fault.”

It’s a sick game. Sick, sick, sick.

Another good friend said this:

Just remember they may try to hit below the belt like they have done in the past. Don’t let it get to you.

If they reply, just laugh because you will know you got to them.

All email screenshots were sent to my counselor along with this comment:

Okay. Trying not to let her message affect me. I know I didn’t damage my daughter. I did thrown the ball back a few times. I know better. I am just tired of being bullied by them.

My counselor replied:

I think it is okay to fight back. She sounds awful.

Last Response

There are no regrets over sending this message. Plus, there is no sickness in my stomach. Also, I thought about it carefully and waited all day. A good friend helped me with the wording and this was not sent when I was angry. Now their email will go to a special and forgotten folder. Once my daughter has graduated I will block the both of them completely. I also know this response is hitting her below the belt and isn’t exactly that nice. I am just sick of being a doormat for my ex-husband and his wife. There is no reason for them to speak to me the way they do. In the past, I have always taken the high road and it doesn’t stop them from attacking. So, I realize no matter how I respond, it will not have a positive response ever.

Closing Thoughts

So, do what you need to do to create a healthy atmosphere. I have created my folders and rules for both my ex-husband and his wife. I am not going to be caught off-guard again. It is time to stop allowing their emails to show up unexpected. It is time to set up healthy boundaries to prevent toxic elements from entering my life.

Reasons to Document Verbal Abuse

Tonight, I read through a few of my blog posts from seven years ago. My thoughts and points about the situations seem perfectly reasonable and rational to me today. So, either that means I am still sick today in my thoughts … doubtful… or the situation was crazy… probable. Documentation may or may not be useful in court, but it is extremely useful for personal validation. Throughout the years I have continued going to therapy, reading self-help books, and going to self-help meetings. Plus, I am surrounded by friends who are healthy and trustworthy.

Personal Validation

In my blog post Validation – I am not Crazy I am discussing the situation with my ex-husband and his wife signing a power of attorney giving his girlfriend (later his wife) full parenting rights at school with our daughter. First, why would a father sign his rights over to a girlfriend? His decisions to not participate in parenting did not mean the school had rights to give his girlfriend the same rights as I had. So this was my primary concern was that the school told me his wife had the same parenting rights as I had with our daughter. This is not a right they had to give away, especially without my permission or notifying me. Plus, I was actively participating in her school activities and functions.

To this day, I have problems with how the school district behaved. I hope this type of situation is unique to this school district. The schools my daughter went to prior and after this situation have not behaved in that manor. This leads me to believe in the nepotism situation. Simply because she was a assistant school teacher in their school, they gave her extra rights, and  I do not believe they would have otherwise.

Interesting enough, I was posting about her inappropriate behavior that didn’t bother me at first. I wrote, “We love you and miss you pumpkin” signed his wife’s name. Little did I know this type of behavior would continue and excessively. At first, I thought maybe this is just a really kind woman who enjoys sending gifts to our daughter. If my ex-husband and his wife hadn’t been so manipulative on so many different occasions then it would be easy to overlook as nothing. The ongoing game suggests there are always motives at play.

Parenting and Abuse

In my next post, Keeping Children Out of the Middle, I discuss the challenges of preventing this unhealthy behavior from touching our daughter. It is true, once the school was involved with my ex-husband’s manipulative games; it was impossible to keep it from touching our daughter. Divorce is tough enough without adding any additional layers. The school should have been a neutral ground. School had been the one place where she could go that our divorce dysfunction wouldn’t touch her. After that, our daughter had to deal with divorce hell everywhere she went. The school didn’t protect our daughter. They shouldn’t have remained neutral. Thankfully, we never had this type of experience again with the school again.

My ex-husbands manipulations and abuse have been documented over and over again in my posts. Yet, today my daughter is living with her father. How does that happen? This situation is quite sick and twisted. There is no rhyme or reason. No rational or logical explanation. I just realize I have to be okay with the fact that I did the absolute best I could. That I truly had my daughter’s best interest at heart at all times. My best friend constantly says that I handled this better than most people would have under the circumstances. Maybe there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome.

Pain is for a Purpose

Also, I need to keep in mind that everything happens for a reason and/or purpose. It has been really easy to focus on the negative experiences over the past year and that type of thinking surely keeps me stuck. So I realize I need to change my thoughts with purpose. Maybe my daughter is away so I can get healthy and get some freedom away from my ex-husband. There has been a lot less communication with him since she left. Maybe the lesson here is for my daughter to gain a different perspective. Whatever the reason, I must remind myself that I trust my higher power (I choose to call my higher power God) and that means there are no mistakes.

Downhill Battle: Teenager Post Abuse

There did seem to be a downhill battle with my daughter after divorcing a narcissist/abusive ex. You can really see the spiral downhill and how we were unable to turn it around in this story. Our daughter has become extremely irrational and unreasonable to converse with. Ugh! I did exactly what I said I shouldn’t do and argued with an extremely irritating 17 year old.

You may have ready my previous, Resentment Only Harms Myself, where my daughter had a difficult sophomore year.  Her childhood has been filled with so much hell and craziness that she really didn’t need. Sometimes I feel that we are to blame, but I know some of this behavior by my ex-husband has always been beyond my control. However, some of her decisions as of late have been brought on by her own decisions and poor choices.

Post originally written on June 25, 2016:

Background

In the Beginning

During a young age, she dealt with my ex-husbands erratic behavior along with my emotional responses to his awful behavior.  Until I found Alanon, I would often respond to him by yelling and screaming because he was getting DWI, coming home drunk, or not coming home, lying all the time.  No matter how I approached him, nothing would ever change, and eventually I became more irritable and unreasonable. Plus, whenever I would blow up, then he would say, “Look how you are behaving, look how crazy you are acting!”.  Worse, I would feel guilty for my reaction. The reason for my initial anger was justified, however when I yelled back it was like giving away my power.  Also, he knew that and would use it against me.

Breaking Point

When my daughter was around four, I remember we had the biggest argument about her fourth birthday party. He wanted to have alcohol and I was convinced this party was for little children.  It really hadn’t occurred to me that he had a problem with drinking at that time.  Once I found Alanon, I began learning that it was like he was throwing the ball and I kept picking it up and throwing it back to him.  Eventually, throughout time I learned to stop picking up that damn ball. When he would throw the ball (words, ignoring, lying, breaking promises) I learned to let it go on by without responding.  I made many mistakes, but I also learned that his behavior was unacceptable and I did not have to continue tolerating it.  By the time she was nearly five, I was buying my own house and getting a divorce.

Divorce

Being divorced from him was harder than being married to him and he made sure of that.  He found a woman who moved in with him shortly after I moved out and I had hoped he would focus on her and leave me alone.  No such luck!  He continued to be harassing and abusive for many years and still does.  Worse, he always used our daughter as a pawn. It would take me many years to learn to talk to him as little as possible.  He is so awful, to this day, I can’t believe how manipulative he is and how hateful he is.

Physical Complaints

Between the ages of four to nine, she complained of her vagina hurting and I would take her to the doctor.  They could never figure out why she was having this pain. One time, her father dropped her off and she crawled under the bathroom sink, screaming that her ‘tee-tee’ hurt.  I called her pediatrician, show said, “If you do not call CPS, then I will.”  So I let my ex-husband know I was calling because I was afraid he would be worse if I didn’t.  I was still so afraid of him at this time.  Plus, he was always threatening to take my daughter away and I was so fearful he had the finances to pull it off.

During this time, my attorney told me to record their conversations.  That night he talked to his daughter and I recorded the message.  He said, “You tell mommy we went straight to gymnastics and back, you tell her that.” When the police officer was filing the report, I remember she raised her eyebrows at that response.  He continued to be difficult after this and my daughter continued to complain about her vagina hurting. The only time she ever complained was after visiting her father.

To this day, I still do not have any answers for why this happened and it suddenly stopped when she was nine years old.

Emotional Abuse

My ex-husband used to interrogate her every time she would visit.  Asking about everything we did, if any guys were ever over.  Then he would email me screaming about this.  Funny, he had a woman living with him at that time?  He also used to pull out all the stops in manipulation. Your mom is going to get mad at you, you are going to get in trouble with your mom, who knows what else…

Whenever she visited his house, she would get whatever she wanted and had no rules.  She could eat whatever and just really had no rules or boundaries.  I get it, he was ‘fun dad’ or ‘Disney dad’. However, he would make comments like we were the ‘food police’ or his wife said I was crazy.  He even mentioned this in a chat this week about his wife saying I had borderline personality disorder.  My comment back is “What business does an assistant teacher have in diagnosing anyone with ADD or any other medical condition.”

So all through my daughter’s childhood she would come home and resent the rules. As she got older, this only became worse.  This was every other weekend we would have hell when she came home for several days.  It was almost as if she had to detox from his house.  Plus, she has been struggling in school for years. It did not help that my ex-husband and his wife were undermining all our rules and working against us throughout her entire childhood.

We have continued to go to therapy.  One mistake I made was we stopped taking her a few years ago when we thought things were getting better.  This was such a mistake, especially when we learned she was cutting herself. She also hooked up with a bunch of friends earlier this year and they were lying all the time about what they were doing.  Eventually that friendship ended badly and all her friends turned on my daughter.

Poor Choices 

Now, she found new friends and was lying again.  I have been paying attention to this behavior and her dishonesty always made me suspicious.  Earlier in the year I installed a program on her phone called UKnowKids.  She was aware I had installed this app on her phone and I told her if she is trustworthy, then we would remove the app. She just really never was trustworthy.  So this app notifies you every time it scans questionable texts.

So a text came in that said, “Going to pick up ‘friend’s name’ and the bud and the rillo.”  So my husband and I were puzzling through this message because it could have meant beer or marijuana.  So, I asked my daughter if her friend smokes cigarettes.  She said, “I don’t know.” So, I asked does she smoke pot?  She said she didn’t know.  So I asked, “Have you smoked pot.”  She said, “No.”

Plus, she had posted a video on Instagram where it looked like she was driving.  She showed me that the phone reversed it, but it was still in question.  Everyone thought she was driving.  However, I looked at the pages of her friends who commented on that post and found her friend’s page.  Wow, this girl had a ton of selfies, but had pictures of her smoking a bong and cigarettes.  Then we noticed a screenshot of a user name for Periscope and the first video is one of my daughter smoking pot with these two friends.

Well, shit hits the fan, of course.

When I was a teenager, you could certainly say I was difficult and eventually grew up. Of course my path led me to marrying an abusive man and extra years of hell trying to co-parent with him. Now, we have a child that not only grew up in a household of divorce, but had to be subjected to years of emotional abuse. Plus, we added a blended family to the mix to further complicate the issue. I had thought we did a pretty good job, but there were high-conflict outside influences and behaviors at work too. My daughter didn’t deserve all this, but this must have happened for a reason. Perhaps some day she will be able to do something good with this situation.

 

The Games Narcissists and Abusers Play

So, last month I received a $2,000 bill from my abusive ex-husbands wife. This bill was sent the day after my daughter had dental surgery and had 6 teeth pulled. They are supposed to notify me of any non-emergency surgeries before the event and not after the event. In email, she implies that their attorney was copied, obviously meant to be a threat.

I hate feeling anxiety all over again when I get an email from them. All this hell he and his wife have helped create between my daughter and myself has been devastating to me. I wound up calling the Domestic Abuse Center today and I should be able to get in to see one of their counselors shortly. Her dad is such a awful person and it kills me that my daughter is in such denial for what she does see.

The very last email is about as hateful as you can get in a response. I know not responding doesn’t mean I am agreeing with him. I really can’t understand how people can be so hateful. I know these are unfeeling abusive people. My husband says they are just assholes looking for a response. I did not respond to his last email because it is full of non-facts. My husband says he is good at throwing the ball and that is probably why he is a good salesman.

Latest Saga of Emails

On, July 22nd, I received this email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife:

Attached are invoices from [daughter’s name] oral surgery.
– bill
– EOB from insurer
– paid receipt
Your responsibility is 50%.

I was pretty surprised to get this bill and this bill seemed to simply the surgery had already happened. Plus, she wrote in their attorney’s name, implying that they CC’d their attorney. Obviously meant to be a bit threatening. I am pretty sure I am not misreading this.

My response to her email was simply:

Please send a detailed explanation about this surgery. What was exactly was done?

Her reply was:

I sent you an attachment with my previous email that explains her treatment plan. Read carefully,  starts with therapeutic parental drugs and all procedures are itemized from the day of oral surgery. The GRA stands for graft.

My response was this:

What was done exactly?  I do not recall any notification about this surgery. Was it medically necessary?

Her response was definitely meant to be condescending. So I decided right then that she is an irrelevant person in this conversation. I couldn’t believe they had decided to put our daughter under anesthesia without notifying me. In fact, they are required to tell me in advance and work with me. However, they never have worked with me over the years. They work against me in all situations.

At that point, I contacted the Oral Surgeon’s office directly. I turns out they pulled our her Wisdom teeth which I was totally agreed about. The thing they did that I was not in agreeance with was pulling her two baby teeth. She has two baby teeth that did not have permanent teeth behind them. The dentist we have been going to for over 7 years told me to leave those teeth in as long as possible. That they could last until she was 30 – 50 years old. Her advice was to avoid the expense and problems of putting in implants that will need to be redone every 5 -10 years. I also called her Orthodontist who basically said this was a cosmetic decision and not medically necessary. So I told my ex-husband this very thing last December.

I also gave them our insurance so they could file as a secondary expense and I am waiting for that information to come back. She told me she would have to wait until their insurance responded before she could fine with ours. So, we already expected this would take longer.

On December 7, 2016 I sent my ex-husband this:

Okay, I do agree with getting her wisdom teeth pulled. I do not agree with getting her baby teeth pulled.
I just spoke with her dentist and they recommend she keep those baby teeth as long as possible. They said these baby teeth could last her until she is 30-50 years old. Implants run $5,000 and need to be replaced every 5 – 10 years. This will be very expensive cost to pay for in the future. We have no idea what her financial position will be in the future in order to maintain these recurring cost. So again I do not agree with removing the baby teeth.
Anyway, so today I receive this from his wife.
It has been over 30 days since I’ve mailed her invoice dated July 21, 2017 regarding oral surgery 043889.
My initial email was sent on July 22, 2017. Your payment for 50% of invoice charges are overdue. Please send payment promptly.Thank you!Sent from my iPad
My response was a little less nice:

Hi,

No. As I stated earlier in the month, the dentist is filing a second claim with our insurance. Once I received the EOB from our insurance, I will settle up our portion. You could have saved time by discussing this and filing both insurances on the date of service. Your inability to follow directions has caused your own delay.

It appears neither of you can be trusted to do what you say or follow the decree. Nothing either of you have done has been reasonable or rational regarding my daughter. Notifying that we owe $1,000 after having surgery you didn’t notify me about is not reasonable.

If you have difficulty understanding this email, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Then I get this response from my abusive ex-husband:

Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done.  You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.
Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?
You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.
Funny to see that he misspelled a word here. He usually is more polished than to make a spelling error in an email. My mind is still thinking about this, but I am not going to respond. My husband believes he has told our daughter something like ‘if your mom really cared about you, she would divorce him.’ My ex-husband doesn’t seem to be okay with the fact that I am doing well and not suffering.

Effects of Verbal Abuse and Stress

So, this entire situation has been stressful for my body. Stress takes a serious toll on my body and I have physical symptoms that are impossible to ignore. I have done a better job managing them over the years, but getting over years of verbal abuse has been a challenge. Some days are better than others and certain events certainly trigger past feelings. My ex-husbands relentless manipulation and using our daughter was extremely stressful. In the end, all my trying to rise above, be the bigger person, not react… was all for nothing… she left anyway.

On symptom occurs when I am sleeping and I clench my teeth more at night. One of my molars has broken three times in less than 15 years. The first time was when I was married to my ex-husband. Living with him produced so much stress I was breaking my teeth in my sleep. During those years, I also had tension in my neck, TMJ symptoms, migraines, and light sensitivity. Today, I realize if my teeth are taking a beating, I need to find way to reduce the external stressors.

Another physical symptom is a rash that doesn’t seem to go away. I have been diagnosed with Skin Lupus and nothing seems to work on these rashes to make them go away. They show up and stick around for months. One website suggests that stress could cause the first appearance or trigger flare ups for someone who already has the disease. This rash first appeared five years ago when I was working at a very stressful job, it went away for several years and showed up about a year ago. However, no treatments have worked to remove this rash. I guess I can be grateful it is just red and only itches on occasion.

Another symptom is difficulty sleeping. I just do not sleep well anymore. I can get to sleep, but after a few hours I wake up and it is a challenge to get back to sleep. So I feel chronically tired. The doctor gave me Belsomra to try and it had an opposite effect and kept me up all night. I have also tried Melatonin which gets me to sleep okay but doesn’t keep asleep. Plus, my clenching my teeth at night can really hurt my jaw, affect my ears, and sometimes causes headaches when I wake. My past revisits me in my dreams. Sometimes I have dreams where I am dealing with my ex-husband again.

Another issue is anxiety which is often triggered by fear. I love my daughter so much, but our current situation is not a good one. She is living with my ex-husband and is looking at him through rose colored glasses. My ex-husband and his wife are extremely passive aggressive and they have been undermining me at every step for more than a decade. One of my fears is will this be an issue forever? Will she ever open her eyes and see the truth. One fear is accepting that she might not ever see the truth, may never want to see the truth. That thought truly frightens me. Plus, I am afraid if she is unable to see the truth, she may end up marrying an abuser or narcissist herself.

This past year has been extremely stressful. Dealing with my ex-husband since our divorce was over 13 years ago. You would seriously think we were newly divorced. Learning how to deal with him, or not deal with him rather, was difficult enough. The worst thing was how he would manipulate and use our daughter to get to me. As a mother, you want nothing more than to protect your child. This was something I was unable to prevent. It is shameful when someone uses their kid to hurt another person. I find it impossible to believe that person really cares about their child to subject them to that.

Another challenge was after our daughter became a teenager. She began pushing the boundaries, rebelling against the rules, and believing the grass might be greener. Plus, whether she would choose to admit it or not, she did learn how to play us agains each other to get what she wants. In the very end, she said many hateful things to me and I heard her father through those words. My response wasn’t so great. My husband’s response wasn’t always so great. We knew we had no control over what my ex-husband and his wife did with my daughter, but we should have had better control over our own reactions. That part of this I do have to own.

One plus side, I have not had one conversation with my ex-husband in an entire year. However, this bonus is bittersweet because I lost my daughter in the process. Although some say I haven’t lost my daughter forever and that she will come back around. I truly hope so. Sometimes it seems like he will never let me get away and be happy. Like he will win at all costs. I am grateful he and I haven’t had a single conversation in the past year. Although this is a game I never wanted to play, didn’t sign up for, and there are times I feel like he won.

Still trying to believe that everything happens for a reason. Hanging on to the belief that some day I will look back and realize this happened exactly as it was supposed to. However, I certainly don’t feel that way today.

 

 

 

Verbal Abuse Stories: Blame-shifting

Here is a story about verbal abuse from one of our readers:

I read this blog and it was like putting a mirror in front of me. I had never seen so clearly before what my ex was like…

I split up with my ex about 2 1/2 years ago during the death of my father. This was an incredibly stressful time in any case, my dad was extremely ill and wheelchair bound with cancer, my mother who has Alzheimer’s didn’t understand what was happening and was suicidal. My ex chose this time to ramp up the pressure on our failing relationship big time until we ultimately split, an event which he carefully timed for my birthday.

He then refused to move out of the house and used my fathers illness as an excuse to “blame me” for not sorting out the divorce quickly enough. Frequently he used to say “so your dad’s dying? I suppose that trumps everything does it, see how patient I am being” in a very sarcastic way.

A couple of months later my father did die in the early hours of one morning. I spent the day taking my mother to the chapel of rest to see him and sorting out a death certificate with my sister. On my exhausted drive home I was an hour later than planned. I rang him and he yelled at me because I had stopped him going out to a pub quiz that evening. Again I got the “Your dad dying is more important than me is it?”. Yes really.

It took a year after that before he finally moved out. During that time he spent every moment he could putting me down, refusing to sort out any of the finances or paperwork, and criticising my progress when I actually was able to do so. He tried very hard to ruin my new relationship, whilst embarking on his own and telling her she was the love of his life.

The bit that chimed most was the refusal to arrange anything for kids pick up or vacation. He is constantly refusing until the last minute to say which of us is picking them up, refusing to keep to regular agreed times on his side, won’t say yes or no when I try and plan to go on holiday… and so on.

Last week I finally saw the light properly and clearly. I was sent an email in which he accused me of making him angry by not getting angry, and that it was a form of my ongoing abuse of him. It was so bizarre and funny that I laughed, and suddenly realised I had still been looking for approval, still allowing myself to be put down even all this time after we were divorced.

Enough is enough. Somehow because he had never hit me I didn’t view it as abuse. I forgave the angry outbursts at me and the kids, the controlling behaviour, the constant put downs whilst positioning himself as a saint. I told myself over and over again he had changed, but he hasn’t. I don’t suppose he ever will. I feel sorry for his new partner but interfering would only open me up to more abuse.

Thank you for posting these thoughts. Thank you for helping me see I am not alone.

Generational Effects of Abuse

domestic violenceThis is a story of domestic abuse and how it often runs in families. The cycle of abuse is a tough one to break unless you begin to understand the facts about abuse.  Domestic abuse has more than one face and can affect you in many ways, including unknowingly teaching your children, by example, to choose similar relationships when they are adults. My family story includes all types of abuse, although I can’t say absolutely that sexual abuse exists, but red flags existed.

Types of Domestic Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse

When I was sixteen, I made the decision to distance myself from my father. However, I often felt guilty for not talking to him, and that guilt would drive me to call him again. My parents divorced when I was three years old, and I visited him twice a year every year up until the age of sixteen. At the age of sixteen I flat out refused to see him and from them on I think I saw him five times in over 20 years.

There are so many times my relationship with my father confuses me. On one hand, I don’t want to be around him when he is abusive, and that is more often than not. However, I know he suffers from mental illness, and that is not entirely his fault. Now, my aunt has taken over my father’s finances, and he is in a nursing home. My father is so out of control that the thought of my taking over his care gives me panic attacks.

My father has always been ill in more ways than one. As a child, my family protected me from the truth, which probably didn’t protect me at all. My father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia back in the 1970s. Although, in the 1970s, that classification was often incorrect or not a reliable diagnosis. My father was certainly extreme in moods and his behavior often exhibited those of Bi-polar with the tendency to have manic swings.

Approximately ten years ago they diagnosed my father with Schizoaffective Disorder because there seemed to be more than one mental illness present in him. It is very likely my father is also an alcoholic, but he hid this from me very well when I was a child as I never saw him drink.  Oftentimes, substance abuse and mental illness go hand-in-hand.

I do have sympathy for my father because he was a victim if abuse by his father. My grandfather was an extremely controlling and abusive man. He regularly beat his children, but my aunt said my father, being the oldest, always got the worst of it. So it is difficult to say if my father was born with this illness or if all the trauma from physical abuse created it or exacerbated the issues.

My grandfather was also a victim of abuse from his father. What I have learned about my great-grandfather is he was alcoholic that was extremely physically abusive to his children. So my grandfather was regularly beaten, and this cycle of abuse continued when he became a parent. My grandfather never drank a day in his life and might have been considered a drunk alcoholic.

What I remember of my grandfather has he had a grandiose image of himself, and he expected his family to uphold that image. He was in the military and always dressed the part. They had a Rolls Royce, not sure if it was one they fixed up or not. When I was a child, they drove talking Cadillacs, huge expensive motorhome, and a huge boat. He was always living beyond his means to impress other people. I know they made a lot of money, but they were always broke. My grandfather was always looking for getting rich quick schemes that usually don’t result in anyone getting rich. My grandfather definitely used finances and threatening to take the children away to control my grandmother.

My father was an amazing artist, and that was not acceptable to my grandfather. So my father wound up going into the military too, and I am sure he was extremely resentful. However, I remember my father was always trying to please my grandfather, even up until the day my grandfather died. To this day, my father also talks about how great my grandfather was and doesn’t even discuss the abuse.

After my parents had divorced in the 1970s, my father had a break that landed him in the hospital. Perhaps he snapped because my mom had finally decided she had it with the abuse and took me and left. So my grandparents brought him home to live with them, and that was where I would visit my father. My aunt discusses how they took care of my father and never discussed his mental illness with anyone. I am sure they were ashamed of his illness.

When I was a child, my grandparents would often blame my dad’s illness on my mom. They told me she was the reason he was sick. They also told me all the time when I was a child that when I grew up I would need to take care of my father. That entire side of my family would just tear my mom to shreds every time I came to visit. This experience was so negative for me that was why I decided to stop seeing them when I was a teenager.

So, as you can imagine, this created a lot of stress and anger for me when I was a child. Plus, I was an only child, and I had no one to discuss this with whenever I returned home to my mother. My mother would often not say anything negative about my father, which is good on some levels. However, I needed someone to explain his illness to me, especially as I grew older and began to witness some of the outbursts.

Eventually, I came to learn more of the story about my father. However, since we never discussed abuse, I wound up picking a verbally abusive man to marry myself. My ex-husband had extreme moods too along with that grandiose image of himself. In fact, I would say I married someone who was very similar to my father. Generationally, domestic abuse does seem to run in families.

When I was dating my ex-husband, I confided in him one of my greatest fears. I knew the illness my father had could be hereditary, and I was afraid it could happen to me too. Throughout our marriage, this was my ex-husband’s favorite way to hurt me. Tell me things like, “Look how crazy your are acting.” I am sure he enjoyed throwing that bomb at me whenever he was angry.

Hopefully, I have made enough difference choices that the cycle of abuse may end with me. I pray that my daughter makes difference choices than I did. Look at how many years this cycle of abuse has been present in my family.

 

Verbal Abuse Physical Effects

verbal abuse physical effectsThe effects of verbal abuse can cause physical symptoms that can become emotional scars that can last a lifetime if they are not dealt with. It can be very difficult to figure out that you are in a verbally abusive relationship and even more difficult to prove in the court of law. That is not entirely true, let me rephrase, there was no evidence that the courts could use to label this man an abuser. During several years of my marriage I remember seeing one doctor after another trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  There was something wrong with my physically and it seemed I was getting sicker and sicker as the years went on.  There were times I wondered if it was all in my head and of course my abuser certainly tried to make me believe that lie. There was no way I was simply being a hypochondriac.

It took several years of doctor’s visits to uncover why my symptoms really were. First, it seems like it very difficult to diagnose symptoms when they are chronic. These symptoms gradually became worse over a period of 10 years of being with the abuser.  Some of the effects have lasted 8 years after being divorced although they have gradually lessened over time with various treatments. Over the past several years many things have helped me lessen the symptoms, including; Domestic Abuse counseling, domestic abuse books, self-help books, self-help programs, Alanon, therapy, talking with friends & family, writing in journals (blogging). The biggest part of healing through realizing that the emotional abuse is real and that I am not crazy.

Life Before Divorce

Anxiety

I had chronic anxiety and I didn’t know it because it never went away. I always felt like someone was sitting on my chest. Plus, many times I had heart palpitations which made me wonder if had heart problems. My doctor ran all the appropriate tests and ruled that concern out.

Stomach Aches

I do not recall when the stomach aches first started but I remember gastrointestinal problems were constant. At one point the doctors diagnosed me with stress and gave me anti-depressants but that really didn’t do much for long.  The stomach problems continued to get worse and eventually they diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and again they gave me pills to deal with the symptoms.  Two years after we were married I decided to send myself to a specialist and they actually found a huge polyp in my colon that they removed.  Even after this issue was found and taken care of my stomach problems continued.  I would feel gassy, bloated causing excessive burping.  Sometimes the pains were so strong they were bring me to my knees.  This problem was only resolved after I left him and was no longer exposed to him daily.  The stomach problems did return often when dealing with him because the encounters were so stressful.  Even today the stomach problems can start up if we have an argument.

Migraines

The migraines were yet another symptom that was pretty chronic. These migraines caused light sensitivity and I would see black floaters.  Towards the very end when we were really having problems, the migraines were so bad I could barely look at the computer because it made my eyes hurt. Looking back I realize my shoulders were so tense that it may have been contributing to my migraines.  A year before I left him for good I had filed temporary divorce orders.  I had many months where I was not exposed to him and my migraines certainly were not as bad. We did get back together for a short time after that and when I spoke to him I could actually feel the blood rushing into my head. That was when I realized dealing with him was the reason my head was hurting.

Breaking my Teeth

The stress was so great it often caused me to clench my teeth when I was sleeping. I had no idea but my teeth were actually getting fractured while I was sleeping. At one point I woke up one morning and one of my teeth was broken. I had to go to the dentist and get it it repaired. At that time I had no idea why it was broken or that I was actually causing it with teeth clenching. I am not sure if this was because of my shoulders being so tense but this also went up through my neck and affected my jaw. I am not sure if the teeth clenching caused my jaw to hurt or if being so tense caused me to clench my teeth so often.

TMJ

At some point I remember my jaw really began to hurt and it clicked whenever I opened my mouth.  I remember going to my allergist first because it felt like I had water in my ears which I thought was caused by allergies. The allergies doctor was the one who noticed my jaw shifting and mentioned the term TMJ.  At this point I had to go to a TMJ doctor and get a mouth guard made to help protect my teeth and jaw. This issue was not covered by insurance and cost a lot of money out of pocket. Of course my husband was hiding money and spending money like crazy an we were often too broke to keep paying for it so I stopped going.

Life After Divorce

Okay, so that is my list of health problems that occurred while I was married to the verbal abuser.  So is there really no proof that he was verbally abusive? It sure seems like there is by looking at this long list. After I left I had new symptoms that developed.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Whenever I dealt with him it caused excessive sweating, anxiety returned, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping and it was impossible to just relax. When I first left him I went through a period of what I believe was PTSD.  I remember feeling afraid all the time. This sense of fear made sure I kept the doors and windows locked at all times. I also made sure the blinds were always closed and the garage door. It took me several months until I found some posts about PTSD that sent me to my doctor to discuss the symptoms. It was then he prescribed me with an anti-anxiety pill that helped me relieve the symptoms. As I continued to get educated about domestic abuse and put up some boundaries these symptoms lessened. They did not ever really go away completely until I really distanced myself from my ex-husband. Even today it can caused my entire family stress when we have to deal with my abusive ex-husband.

Hormone Imbalances

Today I am resolving some hormone imbalances that may have been going on much longer than I thought.  It turns out my stress levels are way too high and since we have been addressing these symptoms I have noticed my anxiety have really lessened.  In fact I could not recall a time when I was not living with that anxious feeling. Today I cannot believe how much better I feel.  I am really not sure how much of this is related to that stress but I think my body living under these levels of stress for so long they actually became normal.

Today, stress is still something I have to deal often with and I continue to learn to manage the causes of stress. This blog is on way I deal with the memories which help me release them so they do not torment me in my mind. My marriage to a verbally abusive person was very traumatic.  Actually, even being divorced from him has had some extreme traumatic events.  The best way I have learned to deal with my abusive ex-husband is to just not deal with him at all.  We still have a child together but that does not mean I have to talk to him.  For my own personal health and well-being I have had to really limit my exposure to my ex-husband.  This was actually the healthiest choice for my daughter as well.

Some of the things I have done to distance myself include:

  • Going by the Decree – if we go by what the decree says then we have less to talk about.  He knows when to pick her up and we do not have to communicate at all.   Any flexibility or communications would simply allow him to use that as a way to control.
  • Physical Distance – moving as far away as I could also seems to have helped a lot.  Honestly an attorney once recommended I move 90 miles away from him and rent a place so if he moved closer I could move 90 miles away again.  Legally speaking, there is very little I could do to prove or prevent him from harassing me, I understand why she made that suggestion.  Living too close just made it too easy for him to harass me.
  • Zero Communication – or nearly zero communication has really helped.  Going by the decree gave us a lot less to discuss and less contact means less conflicts which not only helps me but it helped our daughter too.   Also, trying to refrain from any communication about him in our house has also helped.
  • Keep Records – just in case, I would always recommend keeping documents on everything.  Any communication sent I have kept records, printed them out and put them my huge Divorce binder.   Should there ever come a time where I have to prove he is harassing me I certainly could have.

Resources:

Abusive Experience – Journal Entries 4

journal entriesLooking through those other journal entries made me hunt for one of my older journals.  I found the one I was writing when I met my abusive ex-husband.  In reading those words now I can hardly believe I could have ever felt positive things about him.  As long as I can remember he has been angry, entitled and controlling.  My journal entry actual makes him seem fun and enjoyable to be around.  Either my perception was way off or he was acting completely different when I met him.  Perhaps my having low self esteem had a lot to do with this.  It certainly made me an easy target for an abuser.  I do believe my ex-husband would not have picked a strong healthy woman because she would have left him quickly.

June 3, 1995

…Anyway, on May 13 I met a guy named Dick,he is a really great guy.  He works for an insurance corporation, and from how he talks about it, he really likes it.  He is so intelligent, I really enjoy our conversations.  It seems we can talk for hours and hours and never run out of things to say.  I feel one of his greatest qualities is his honesty, he speaks truthfully, what’s on his mind.  I like that.  (What? That is totally not my ex-husband.  Did he completely fool me?)

Are they really that different in how they present themselves when you first meet him.  I will still say today I think he is pretty intelligent, but I would consider it more manipulative in character.  He has not been a happy person for twenty years.  Even around our daughter he seems so angry, and when she was younger she use to say he was just really ‘Serious’.  Now she laughs about calling it that.

…I can’t say I am in love, but I have that fun little high you get when you are really happy.  Not to mention he is absolutely gorgeous.  He has a beautiful body, I swear he could model.  I like his eyes, and his different facial expressions he makes.  He is six feet of gorgeous incredible hunk material. I can’t seem to get him out of my mind.

Well, that kind of shows you how young and infatuated I was.  I was 21 when we met it sounds like I was completely obsessed with him.  Maybe I was so infatuated I missed any early warning signs there might have been.  He was in really good shape when we met and I remember he did not drink very much because he was working out.

Oh, in reading further,  here comes the warning signs.

June 5, 1995

Well I am on the phone with Dick.  He is a little upset right now, because he lost a bet and his friend wants the money now.  He is a really great guy, why is he so sweet, where is that little something that I can’t see.  I mean he’s too good to be true.  Common statement but, he is really intelligent, and gorgeous.  I am going over to his house tonight.  His mother is going to come visit him next week I think.  I’m a little nervous, I want his mother to like me.  Dick was raised by her, and he turned out great, so you really need to look at that as his parents doing.

Wow, again I am just baffled in reading this.  His mother was an alcoholic who was abusive and passive aggressive.  She was horrible to him when he was a child.  She was pretty awful to me to in her passive aggressive way.  She never said anything directly, always those passive insults where you question if they meant you thought they did.  Okay, perhaps I should be telling you my other secret.  The one I never talk about.  Good God, this blog is written anonymously and I still do not want to share that secret.  What is wrong with me?

June 6, 1995

I’m talking to Dick right now.  He is silly, giving me a hard time about last night because I slept on the couch.  He says his ego was shot because I didn’t sleep with him.  It’s only cause I didn’t want to wake him up.  So I went to sleep on the couch.  He really is a nice man, he’s funny, nice gorgeous and intelligent.  He says some cute things.

I like talking to him, he likes to argue with me about silly things, I think he is joking around.  I’m going over there again for the third night in a row.  I like his apartment, I feel comfortable there.  The more I’m over there, the more comfortable I feel. Tomorrow we might have lunch.  I’d have to shower there though.

Some of my comments are that I cannot read him, that he seems too good to be true and so it seems as though I was looking for a problem.  I am saying how I think I can fall in love with him but yet it was like I couldn’t get to know him.  Maybe I was not as blind as I thought.  Perhaps he was not being himself which is why I couldn’t figure him out.  Nobody is perfect and sure people put their best foot forward when you meet them.  Yet when I think of the 10 years of our relationship I cannot remember any good times.  My

June 8, 1995

Well I just got home from work, it was really tough.  First it was come back after the game.  Then it was no, I lost money on the game so I wouldn’t be good company.  My house is pretty clean, I cleaned and did laundry before work so at least I came home to that.

I called Dick to tell him I was home, he was half asleep.  I wonder if he’ll even remember I called.  I hope he calls tomorrow.  I wonder how things are going to turn out between us.  He is a really great guy.  I have not known him for an extremely long time, but things seem well right now.  Well I am exhausted, so I am crashing and I will write more tomorrow.

Okay so check out this next entry.  Okay so it was the 90’s but it sounds like I am whining and dining him, not the other way around.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but it certainly sounds like he is in control here and keeping me guessing.

June 9, 1995

Tomorrow I am ordering flowers for Dick and I am sending him roses all different colors I think.  I am bringing home one flower and putting it on my bed with a card.  I am cooking him dinner, place-mats, candles, wine, the works!  I’m cooking tenderloin, baked potatoes, corn and a salad.  I’m getting a twelve pack of Miller light.  I am having whipped cream and strawberries for desert.  Well, I had better go because I have a full day ahead.

Reading these journal entries, it is really clear that it was unhealthy, I was pursuing an unhealthy relationship that was not meeting my needs for a long time.  My ex-husband rarely did anything that required much thoughtfulness.   I cannot undo my past but I do wish I had been able to see that my ex-husband was never putting effort in like I was.   I do remember he blamed that on an ex-girlfriend.  That she hurt him and that was why he was not giving like he did with his ex-girlfriend.  So I guess I believed he would get over it and start doing that?

Verbal Abuse Can Impact Any Relationship

I truly think God must have a sense of humor.  I am not completely rid of my abusive ex-husband or abusive ex-boss but it sure makes me feel fired up to write more about verbal and emotional abuse,  because awareness is key.

Verbal Abuse can happen in almost any type of relationship and anywhere;

    • in intimate relationships, marriages, or even families
    • at school with other kids, colleagues, teachers, and sometimes parents
    • at work with a boss, owners, management or co-workers
    • in customer service with utilities or other companies you pay bills to
    • debt collectors (these are among the some of worst)
    • by neighbors or people in your community
    • by friends or ex-friends

Emotional abuse is not limited to intimate relationships and can be found in all sorts of encounters throughout life.  Some of these situations are very short-lived like when you deal with an abusive customer service representative or perhaps a someone managing your affairs.  It is easy to not recognize these situations as abuse because they do not occur on the regular basis and it is easier to put them out of your mind.

Obviously, the vast majority of these situations would involve verbal or emotional abuse.  Of course, anything physical would allow you to take legal action.  No, this the type of abuse that is sly and usually done through words, actions or even the silent treatment.  Most verbal abusers have patterns and will often repeat these behaviors.  Almost anyone is capable of having a bad day, but these encounters should not be come the ‘new normal’.

Once an abuser or bully sets his target on you it very difficult to get out of the path.  Sometimes it requires you sever any connecting relationships in order to get away from the assaults.  Unfortunately, it is usually impossible to reason with these types of personalities.  Especially, if you are dealing with a narcissistic, sociopath or someone with a personality disorder who lacks empathy & remorse.

First example:
When I divorced my abusive ex-husband, it seemed he would use any kind of connection he could to get to me.  He would use anyone who was connected to me in order to pass messages or simply stir the pot.  You know, bizarre situations that seem to pull you back into the abusive insanity.  Where he is now talking to one of your friends and you being to wonder if they are repeating everything you say to your Ex.  Now that I have severed every possible connection, the only one he has left to use is our daughter, and he most certainly tries to use her as a pawn.

Second example:
When I left my last job, my boss would use my old co-workers to spy on me through Facebook or Linked In.  It was really sneaky and felt like stalking or rather ‘silent stalking’ (if there is such a thing).  All the while, he said nothing directly to me, but outright ignored me.  Even when I was trying to clean up connections since I was tied to almost everything within the company.  It really felt like I was getting divorced all over again on my last day.  Having to sit there while we removed my administrative access to everything.  Eventually, I disconnected myself from every connection we had in common.  Perhaps that was his personal goal?

Time to Say Goodbye
Unfortunately, some of these relationships become reoccurring and can make it impossible for you to ignore the abuser’s behavior.  Reoccurring abusive situations are often with a intimate partner, boss or management, or even someone in your own family.  If this relationship becomes one you cannot avoid and is effecting you emotionally, only you can decide when it is time to say goodbye.

Sources: